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  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Douglas Adams

    Kate Schechter would like to know why everyone she meets knows her name - and why Thor, the Norse god of thunder, keeps showing up on her doorstep. Dirk Gently, detective and refrigerator wrestler, can uncover the mystery, and only the absurdist wit of Douglas Adams can recount them with such relentless humor.

    Jackson says: "An Amazingly Perfect Story"
    "I forgot how good this one is"
    Where does The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right up there with HHGTTG.

    I read it back in high school (early 70's) and I remembered that I liked it.I'm really glad I got it in audiobook, it's a very fun story.

    *SPOILERS* (in best River Song voice) Don't read further if you don't want your reading of the book colored by my idiotic opinions.

    I love all his stuff, but I'm not sure why he kind of just slapped an ending on this one. The concept is brilliant, the writing top notch, and Adams wrote the sexiest female characters ever, but it kind of peters out with a whimper at the very, very end.

    He was one seriously funny and creative guy.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The way he connected past and present seamlessly.

    Have you listened to any of Douglas Adams’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. If you're a fan, seek out (rob a bank or steal a plane, if needed) and find his 4 CD version of Hitchiker's Guide. I love Stephen Fry, he is a brilliant and talented guy, and he does an excellent job of reading HHGTTG, but let's face it, there is nothing like having the author perform the characters. It's one of my favorite audiobooks of all time.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    What's a god gotta do?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Timothy Ferris
    • Narrated By Fred Stella

    In his most important book to date, award-winning author Timothy Ferris — “the best popular science writer in the English language today” (Christian Science Monitor) — makes a passionate case for science as the inspiration behind the rise of liberalism and democracy.

    Dan says: "Interesting history, but fails to make his case"
    "Interesting history, but fails to make his case"
    What did you love best about The Science of Liberty?

    I learned bits about the history of the French revolution, the rise and fall of deconstructionism, and a few other moderately obscure areas that I never would have sought out to read about.

    What other book might you compare The Science of Liberty to and why?

    It's only vaguely reminiscent of Loewen's "Lies My Teacher Told Me" - Loewen is much more convincing and much more thorough, but there were some of those "hah!" moments in this book.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Way too many pronunciation errors, many on relatively simple words. I don't recall ever hearing an audiobook with this many errors.They're annoying and detract from the experience, but not horrifically so. I'd still buy it again even knowing what the narrator is like.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I'm a pure rationalist, an anti-theist and a huge fan of science. I *want* his hypothesis to be true, it "feels right" just based on a reading of the title, so I was really looking forward to learning some good solid measures/comparisons/relationships that clearly show a correlation between rational, liberal governance and scientific progress. I enjoy having a large arsenal of facts, examples and citations on hand because I often debate (or simply ridicule) anti-science factions whenever they appear in discussions of science.He just didn't make his case. If he had taken 3 or 4 specific cases and enumerated the same specifics values or correlations - how often they held elections and what sort of voter turnout there was (to spot discouraged or coerced voters) and somehow related that to number of published science papers... I don't know, I'm just pulling random ideas out of my nether regions, not really proposing that as a valid metric. I was just hoping he had already thought through which of those sorts of correlations were most valuable or strongest or something.His hypothesis is probably correct, even though I thought of a couple of arguments that countered his. I just wanted to feel roughly 60% certain and all I got was about 30% or less.

    Any additional comments?

    At least a couple of anti-science wackos ranting in their reviews about his coverage of climate science. I cannot stress how unbiased and precisely stated his description of the (at the time) current state of climate science is. In every single statement he fully qualifies it with all the relevant levels of uncertainty, acknowledges the possibility of error, and basically makes an exemplary scientific presentation. He never once makes an absolute statement on the science. It's actually quite sad that he has to couch generally good/well established science in such conditional (at times sounding almost apologetic) language. Those reviews are a clear illustration of how irrational and dangerous the dogmatic illiberal political groups/tendencies are. That they could find fault in a purely rational, purely factual summary of a specific field of science, and that they would use even book review that had nothing to do with climate science to try and inject doubt into the discussion of it is telling. The author simply chose it as a specific, relevant and timely case where governments and people around the globe will have to act in concert to study and potentially address the threat, and where the science has been under attack by dogmatic, illiberal groups. He could have used the problems addressing the AIDS crisis where dogmatic and illiberal groups interfere with the distribution of condoms, or groups that use political influence/interference to intimidate science teachers and prevent the teaching of biological evolution in science classes. There would still be anti-science rumblings from the dogmatic types no matter what topic you choose. All that reinforces the point that the author's hypothesis, whether right or wrong, identifies a political/social problem that *must* be acknowledged and addressed if we want the human species to continue moving forward and continue to benefit from science that isn't polluted by popular dogma. Oh yeah, one other thing that annoyed me is the author's occasional blatant error in science. For example near the end he makes the statement that it's not likely, but possible for all the atoms in your copy of the book to "make a quantum leap..." causing it to disappear. Atoms don't make "quantum leaps", and a "quantum leap" happens only over incredibly tiny distances. It's the sort of mistake someone with only a vague familiarity with quantum mechanics would make. It lessens my confidence in him as a representative of science. I like his other books, I like this one okay, it's an interesting listen (I was never tempted to fast forward), it simply wasn't what I wanted/expected it to be. If you kinda-sorta enjoyed the book and found the history somewhat interesting, I'd suggest having a listen to Bill Bryson's "A Brief History of Nearly Everything"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Good story, repugnant author"
    Would you listen to Ender's Game again? Why?

    I've already listened to it twice, will probably listen to it again someday.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game?

    Nothing that really sticks in the mind, it was just decent sci-fi. Not sophisticated, fairly imaginative.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    To quote Dr. River Song: "Spoilers."

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Ender was first taken to the academy, first meeting with Graf (sp?)

    Any additional comments?

    Decent sci-fi, not Asimov quality but definitely a good listen.I think the book has more impact on younger readers than on us old farts.

    The plot is is fairly easy to figure out from about 1/3 of the way through the book, so it plodded a bit knowing what was probably coming. Still fun.

    I enjoyed the book but much of my enjoyment was lost once I found out the author is a raging homophobe. It's like reading a decent book and then finding out the author was a Nazi, it doesn't matter how good the writing is, it still leaves one with a funny feeling in the stomach. Had I known in advance, I would have gotten the book from a library rather than support any author who preaches any form of bigotry or racism.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and the Starcatchers: The Starcatchers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil.

    Deborah says: "A fast paced frolic on the high seas!"
    "Worth it for the Jim Dale performance"
    What made the experience of listening to Peter and the Starcatchers the most enjoyable?

    If Jim reading the HP books brought you here, just buy it. He's amazing. His voices and accents, while some are similar to the HP book characters, are definitely not exact copies. He somehow manages to come up with more.

    The story is bit contrived to fit in and at times panders to the kids a bit, but still very high quality story telling.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Peter and the Starcatchers?

    Stupid as it may sound, some of the slapstick is quite funny, even when read.

    Have you listened to any of Jim Dale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yeah, all the HP books. He's brilliant, truly unique talent.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Bloody pirates!

    Any additional comments?

    It's fun, even for us old guys. NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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